A few short weeks ago I blogged about the loss of my beloved Hugo. I lamented at the time that we didn’t expect him to go first as Ruby was so much older.
Ruby was 15, and last night was a one way trip to the vet. She had a great day at grandma’s yesterday exploring the garden, vacuuming up the crumbs, helping with the weeding, looking for her marbles – as one does when one is antique. I picked her and her fur-sisters up, and came home. She had her dinner but didn’t finish it. Unusual but not entirely unheard of, then onto the evening’s entertainment of moving from dog bed to dog bed in the last of the evening sunshine before going to her own bed.
I was finishing up some work when Robert said, “there is something wrong with Ruby”. She was having trouble breathing and staggering when she walked.
I took her to the after hours vet and after a brief exam the vet said she had a very high temperature and some type of infection – possibly due to infected teeth but couldn’t be 100% sure without xrays and further exams. A treatment of IV antibiotics, surgery to remove the last remaining teeth and so on. I said “no”. At 15, she deserved a nice easy exit.
She never showed any signs of distress until that last hour, I had no reason to think she was in any pain and as a dearly loved, albeit increasibly stinky pet, I was not putting her through the trauma of treatment and surgery at her age.
She was deaf, her eyesight wasn’t great, her marbles have been missing for sometime. Her heart was struggling – as I was told from her last, recent, checkup.
The last thing I gave her was the gift of a nice deep sleep while I held her in my arms. I hope someone will be able to do the same for me when the time comes.
Ruby came into our lives 13 years ago, from a breeder who said her puppies “weren’t up to scratch”. I didn’t care, she was the prettiest dachshund I’d ever seen. Bright eyes, glossy coat, gorgeous silky red fur exactly the same colour as our 70s orange carpet (we ended up getting new carpet to stop us tripping over her).
She adored our old cat, much to his disgust. She’d love bounding up to him giving him a big, wet, doggy kiss. To say he was unimpressed was an understatement.
She especially loved helping in the garden, eating the bugs that got unearthed. Grass grub … ummmmm delicious!
In the early days, before we had a second (and then third) dog, she’d come with us everywhere. If it had been the era of handbag dogs, I would have been set. But we made her walk… on a lead… the indignity! I remember many a party where she’d sit quietly next to me, or on my lap while the party swirled around us. She liked the attention as long as people didn’t fuss over her.
Hated walks on a lead but loved any place where she could run free – parks, forests and beaches. But in the last year or so, we’d been wheeling her around the neighbourhood in a jogging stroller. Some days she’d sit happily, others, she’s wail like a banchee until we let her around so she could run (at snail’s pace) alongside.
In her twilight years, she quickly learnt the sign language we taught her when we found she was going deaf. She also learnt even more quickly that if she looked the other way, she didn’t need to come when called. Other new tricks in later years were the wailing for her dinner. Dinner time is 5.30pm, she found if she started wailing, often around 4.30pm, she’d get fed quicker. You may say I am also easily trained but I couldn’t stand the noise and there was no distracting her from her mission. Who says you can’t teach an old human new tricks?
She loved cats, her people, our beloved Hugo. Food was always high on the list of loves, even last weekend she got stuck into a beef bone. Sure it took her 2 hours to get through it but it was an awesome two hours! Snuggling in bed, burrowing under the covers, dozing in the sun – these were things she excelled at. Visiting grandma, always a highlight, the disappointment apparent when on occassion she realised we were walking past and not going visiting.
But now she’s gone to be with Hugo, and if she has her way, with our old cat Zanzara. She will be missed.